Dark Star-Making Factory
Space gas and dust as viewed from the Herschel Observatory

This image from the Herschel Observatory reveals some of the coldest and darkest material in our galaxy. The choppy clouds of gas and dust are just starting to condense into new stars.

Blue shows the warmest dust pictured, and red the coolest. Infrared light with a wavelength of 70 microns is depicted in blue, and 160-micron light is in red. Much of this region of the galaxy would be hidden in visible-light views.

The area pictured is in the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, 60 degrees from the center. It spans a region 2.1 by 2.1 degrees.

This image was taken by Herschel's spectral and photometric imaging receiver. Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with important participation from NASA.

Image credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Full resolution jpeg (297KB)